Indianapolis Periodontics PC
What are the periodontal diseases that we are discussing?
The word periodontium refers to the tissues that are present "around the tooth." Periodontal diseases are serious bacterial infections that destroy the attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. If they are left untreated, these diseases can lead to tooth loss. There are many forms of periodontal disease:
Periodontitis which includes conditions such as 'Aggressive periodontitis'
'Periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic diseases' and
'Necrotizing periodontal diseases'
Who is a periodontist?
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists receive extensive training in these areas, including three additional years of education beyond dental school. Periodontists are familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease. In addition, they can perform cosmetic periodontal procedures to help you achieve the smile you desire. Often, dentists refer their patients to a periodontist when their periodontal disease is advanced. However, you don't need a referral to see a periodontist. In fact, there are occasions when you may choose to go directly to a periodontist or to refer a family member or friend to your own periodontist.
Is periodontal disease contagious? Can I pass my periodontal disease to others?
Periodontal disease may be passed from parents to children and between couples, according to an article in the September 1997 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association. Researchers suggest that bacteria causing periodontal disease are passed though saliva. This means that when a family or couple come into contact with each other's saliva, they're at risk for contracting the periodontal disease of another family member. Based on this research, the American Academy of Periodontology recognizes that treatment of gum disease may involve entire families. If one family member has periodontal disease, the AAP recommends that all family members see a dental professional for a periodontal disease screening.
I smoke. Is this a problme? Is there a relationship between my smoking and my risk for developing periodontal disease?
Tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease. Smokers are much more likely than non-smokers to have calculus form on their teeth, have deeper pockets between the teeth and gums and lose more of the bone and tissue that support the teeth.
My dentists tells me I have pockets. What are pockets?
Your bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck. When you have periodontal disease, this supporting tissue and bone is destroyed, forming "pockets" around the teeth. Over time, these pockets become deeper, providing a larger space in which bacteria can live. As bacteria develop around the teeth, they can accumulate and advance under the gum tissue. These deep pockets collect even more bacteria, resulting in further bone and tissue loss. Eventually, if too much bone is lost, the teeth will need to be extracted.
What about hereditary? Could my periodontal disease be genetic?
Research proves that up to 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. Despite aggressive oral care habits, these people may be six times more likely to develop periodontal disease. Identifying these people with a genetic test before they even show signs of the disease and getting them into early interventive treatment may help them keep their teeth for a lifetime.
When should I see a periodontist?
If you value your oral as well as overall health, anytime is a good time to see a periodontist for a periodontal evaluation. Sometimes the only way to detect periodontal disease is through a periodontal evaluation. A periodontal evaluation may be especially important in the following situations:
If you notice any symptoms of periodontal disease, including:
gums that bleed easily, such as during brushing or flossing
red, swollen or tender gums
gums that have pulled away from the teeth
persistent bad breath
pus between the teeth and gums
loose or separating teeth
a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
a sore or irritation in your mouth that does not get better within two weeks
What can I expect the first time I visit a periodontist?
Is it going to be painful?
During your first visit, your periodontist will review your complete medical and dental history with you. It's extremely important for your periodontist to know if you are taking any medications or being treated for any condition that can affect your periodontal care. You will be given a complete oral and periodontal exam. Your periodontist will examine your gums, check to see if there is any gum line recession, assess how your teeth fit together when you bite and check your teeth to see if any are loose. Your periodontist will also take a small measuring instrument and place it between your teeth and gums to determine the depth of those spaces, known as periodontal pockets. This helps your periodontist assess the health of your gums. Radiographs (x-rays) may be used to show the bone levels between your teeth to check for possible bone loss.
What can I do to avoid periodontal disease?
To keep your teeth for a lifetime, you must remove the plaque from your teeth and gums every day with proper brushing and flossing. Regular dental visits are also important. Daily cleaning will help keep calculus formation to a minimum, but it won't completely prevent it. A professional cleaning at least twice a year is necessary to remove calculus from places your toothbrush and floss may have missed.